Sachin Tendulkar’s posh new den in Delhi

Delhi 5, Tughlaq lane

Sachin Tendulkar, now a Member of Parliament, is likely to stay in a house opposite Rahul Gandhi’s when he is in Delhi.

Among the stately houses shortlisted for allotment to Tendulkar in Lutyens’ Delhi is 5, Tughlaq Lane – a huge Type 7 bungalow – bang opposite the house of Rahul, who lives in No. 12, sources in the home ministry say.

Spread over nearly 7,000 square feet, the house has big lawns and five spacious bedrooms. The proximity to the Gandhi scion’s residence means security won’t be an issue for Tendulkar. For Rahul is guarded by the Special Protection Group ( SPG) and the road girding his house is sanitised with barricades and a posse of securitymen.

The home ministry has ordered the Delhi Police to provide Z plus security to the cricketer while he is in Delhi. Two escort vehicles and a posse of 50 odd security personnel guard his residence. Tendulkar, an international figure, gets the same level of security from the Maharashtra Police when he is at home in Mumbai.

A slight hitch in the plan is that 5, Tughlaq Lane is still to be vacated by Vikram Verma, a BJP MP in Rajya Sabha, whose term was over in April. The government is keen to spruce up the house, carry out requisite repairs and make it available to Tendulkar in time for the Monsoon session, which begins in July end or August. Tendulkar will make his maiden appearance in the Rajya Sabha then.

When contacted, Verma said he would vacate the house within two months as he was staying only on an extension.

“The government is open to allot it to Tendulkar. I would be happy if that happens. The call is of the House Committee.”

“A bungalow of a former sports minister should ideally go to a sportsperson,” Verma said, referring to his close relative, the late Sahib Singh Verma, who stayed in this house for many years. Sahib, a former Delhi chief minister, was also a Union sports minister during the NDA tenure.

Tendulkar’s next door neighbour, in that case, will be Corporate Affairs Minister, Veerappa Moily. He stays in 3, Tughlaq Lane.

A first time MP, the sources said, is usually allotted a Type 5 or Type 6 bungalow, which has four bedrooms, but a special exception is being made for the cricketer. ” His security is a big issue. So he is being allotted a big Type 7 bungalow,” one of the sources said.

A team of Maharashtra Police officers, which has been closely monitoring Tendulkar’s security over the years, will be arriving in Delhi in the next few days to check the bungalow and brief Delhi policemen on his security. ” It is possible that some of the Maharashtra policemen will be permanently attached with him during his stay in Delhi,” the source added.

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